Monday, March 6, 2017

Why Is Engaging with Our Readers Crucial?

In February’s blog post we looked at some ways to engage with our readers. I ended that post with a question I’ll answer this week:

Why is connecting with our readers so important?

When we engage our reader with our writing, we create in her thoughts, such as I like this writer.  She makes me laugh and makes me think. She seems like someone I can relate to and someone I can trust.

This connection leads our reader to ask, What else does this writer have to say? Let me keep reading. And this is a good thing! We want our reader to keep reading! As she continues to read, soon she discovers our lives are about following Jesus. Our answers to questions and problems are found in Jesus.

As Christian writers we are not the stars of the show. Our writing must shift to shine the spotlight on the true star of the show, Jesus.

We use all of who we are– our personalities, our thoughts, our skills, our experiences – to give God glory, not ourselves.

Here’s an example of a writer doing this well from one of my favorite books: Your Sacred Yes: Trading Life-Draining Obligation for Freedom, Passion and Joy by Susie Larson 

We feel the ache in our soul when things don’t go the way we’d hoped. We feel frustrated with ourselves when we stumble in the same ways we have for years.  What’s the answer? Look up. Ask Jesus to help us see the worth in our story, the worth in our souls, because we belong to Him.”

Do you see how that works? Susie relates to personal journeys, but then focuses on Jesus.

Praise of our writing is encouraging and intoxicating.  But if we camp out there, the place where our reader thinks we’re awesome, we are in danger of pride and we’re in danger of being nothing more than a self-help book.

So to glorify God with our writing, we must put our reader friends in touch with Jesus.  We can imagine taking our reader’s hand, placing it in the hand of Jesus, and promising her, Jesus is the Life-Giver, the Way, the Truth, and the Lover of your soul. In His love you will find all you need.

Melanie

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Are you submitting writing for magazines, guest blogs, or other publications? To present a professional product, you’ll need an editor. Melanie Chitwood, the author of this article and Next Step writing coach, has written two of her own books and edited many others. For more information about her editing services and how she might help you with your project, click here.

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